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The San Antonio Spurs (1967-), 2014-2015 Record 55-27, 3rd Place - Western Conference, Southwest Division


DaveO
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The year before Tim Duncan joined the San Antonio Spurs, they went 20-62 (.244).

In the 17 years since he's played, the Spurs have performed as follows (copied from landofbasketball.com) including making the playoffs every single year (not to mention 24 of the past 25 years). Take a look at the 4th column from the left: winning percentage. It needs no analysis other than answering one question: is this the best 17-year streak of all-time in the NBA? This is ridiculous.

2013-14 San Antonio 62 - 20 .756 1st  Southwest Division  16 - 7  .696 Won NBA Finals

2012-13 San Antonio 58 - 24 .707 1st  Southwest Division  15 - 6  .714 Lost NBA Finals

2011-12 San Antonio 50 - 16 .758 1st  Southwest Division  10 - 4  .714 Lost West Conf Finals

2010-11 San Antonio 61 - 21 .744 1st  Southwest Division    2 - 4  .333 Lost West Conf 1st Rd

2009-10 San Antonio 50 - 32 .610 2nd Southwest Division   4 - 6   .400 Lost West Conf Semis

2008-09 San Antonio 54 - 28 .659 1st  Southwest Division    1 - 4  .200 Lost West Conf 1st Rd

2007-08 San Antonio 56 - 26 .683 2nd Southwest Division   9 - 8  .529 Lost West Conf Finals

2006-07 San Antonio 58 - 24 .707 2nd Southwest Division 16 - 4  .800 Won NBA Finals

2005-06 San Antonio 63 - 19 .768 1st  Southwest Division    7 - 6  .538 Lost West Conf Semis

2004-05 San Antonio 59 - 23 .720 1st  Southwest Division  16 - 7  .696 Won NBA Finals

2003-04 San Antonio 57 - 25 .695 2nd Midwest Division       6 - 4  .600 Lost West Conf Semis

2002-03 San Antonio 60 - 22 .732 1st  Midwest Division      16 - 8 .667 Won NBA Finals

2001-02 San Antonio 58 - 24 .707 1st  Midwest Division        4 - 6 .400 Lost West Conf Semis

2000-01 San Antonio 58 - 24 .707 1st  Midwest Division        7 - 6 .538 Lost West Conf Finals

1999-00 San Antonio 53 - 29 .646 2nd Midwest Division       1 - 3 . 250 Lost West Conf 1st Rd

1998-99 San Antonio 37 - 13 .740 1st  Midwest Division      15 - 2 .882 Won NBA Finals (*)

1997-98 San Antonio 56 - 26 .683 2nd Midwest Division       4 - 5  .444 Lost West Conf Semis

I am well aware of the Boston Celtics from 1956-1957 through 1968-1969. They had a more intense, higher winning percentage and more championships, but the Spurs have kept it going on for longer. Sure makes for good bar talk - these Spurs of the past quarter-century (and note that Gregg Popovich has coached Tim Duncan *every year of his career*, and now has more championships than anyone except Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach) ... must be considered when talking about the greatest franchises in NBA history.

(*) Season shortened to 50 games due to lockout; other than this anomaly, Tim Duncan has won at least 50 games in every single season.

Don:  I think this is the ONLY great 17 year run characterized by a single coach and a single starter.  The ONLY one.  Simply unprecedented.  One other remarkable thing about this run of coach/player/superstar   and many many changing parts:

Their style of play has changed ...and changed dramatically over this run.  In the early years Duncan was the hub of the offense and was a "twin tower" with David Robinson.  Robinson, who had been a huge star in his own right graciously moved from being the offensive highlight of the team and put even more effort into defense...and Tim Duncan was the offensive focus.

Then over many years the team changed and kept changing in composition...and over the last several years especially as Duncan has aged the focus of the offense changed considerably.  Between the Robinson years and the more recent years...a different offensive focus arose as Parker and Ginobelli became stars in their own right and style and partook in 4 of the 5 championships while becoming stars in their own right.  Parker significantly evolved as he added passing to his repertoire and his remarkable ability to penetrate, along with developing a reliable jump shot.  Ginobelli is a remarkable player in his own right.

In the last couple of years the team evolved again.  This particular team this year remarkably showed off an exquisite passing attack spread throughout the team.  So many players contributed in this thorough passing attack.  Really remarkable that an entire team participated.    I particularly found it fascinating in that Tiago Splitter, who looked like a big stiff to me, became the recipient and the passer of so many effective incredibly quick "touch passes" that resulted in baskets.  Was he capable of this before he joined the Spurs?  I doubt it.

Finally this article expounded on advanced metrics by stats.com that chart things like "miles run by the team" spacing, and other advanced metrics that work to explain this transformation.   The spurs outran the Heat by almost 1 mile in their 3rd and 4th games...and outpassed them by over 100 passes per game in that dominant stretch.

Of relevance here:  within the world of basketball, and often publicized, Coach "Pop" is well noted as a foodie.   Last year, after losing the championship, two long time assistant coaches left to take over other pro teams and two new assistant coaches joined the team.  One thing they noted was that at team and group preparatory meetings there diets were going to change from beer and burgers to wine and fish and finer dining.   ;)   Maybe its Coach Pop's foodie obsession that has helped fuel this extended period of excellence.   ;)

Were the Spurs that great in this series or the Heat that bad?  I'm not sure.  But it was a dominant victory during a long stretch of excellence.

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I ran into an old friend.  He was a basketball junkie, like myself.  Told him I watched a lot of basketball and a lot of NBA championships this past year.

He chimed in.  Right off the top he stated that San Antonio was the best passing team he had seen in years.  The best.  They reminded him of the Magic Johnson Lakers.  hmmm...talk about time lapse....that is roughly 20 years ago.

I agreed with him.  I mentioned that I had watched one of their current players over the years, Tiago Splitter, a 7 foot center.  I thought the guy was a chump, more or less, with few skills beyond being 7' foot tall.  But this year, he was a consistent recipient and giver of touch passes all during the season, and it was highlighted over the playoffs.  He was a serious contributor.

That guy improved in the context of the team.  The whole team played an amazing passing game.  As a team they evolved.  The Splitter example is one of many changes.  I think it was coaching.  San Antonio has ridden the great Tim Duncan over the long haul but their coach and coaching staff, and their development of the team has really been superb.  They changed the nature of the team to keep them competitive over this extraordinarily long haul.

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I just now finished watching the Spurs-Warriors game, and the Spurs were *masterful* in winning 87-79.

This game was a defensive *war*, and the Spurs smothered Curry like a blanket. If these teams play in the Western Conference Finals (and you know they will), they're going to be *so tired* when the series is over.

Gregg Popovich was *brilliant* in figuring out how to play this team.

The Warriors were 9-33 from 3-point range. Curry was 1-12, and got blocked for the first time this season beyond the arc.

It's the only way you can beat the Warriors - deny them the 3.

They've got 2 more games in the regular season - Apr 7 in Oakland, and Apr 10 in San Antonio.

This was the lowest point total of the season for the Warriors.

*Both teams* have perfect records at home this season, and this is the *33rd straight time* the Warriors have lost at San Antonio - the last time they beat them was 1997: the year before Tim Duncan was drafted. No team has *ever* had a perfect home record throughout the course of a season (the Celtics were 40-1 one year); this season, there's a very real possibility that *2 teams* will accomplish the feat.

Tim Duncan played a total of 8 minutes. An incredible statistic: This was only the 3rd time in Duncan's career that he came off the bench.

What a *great game of basketball* this was. Old school, ball-busting, defense, defense, defense.

The combined winning percentage of .882 was the highest ever between two teams playing this late in the NBA season.

San Antonio was shooting *bricks* from beyond the 3-point line, and looked *terrible* from long distance. It's going to be very interesting if (and it's a big if) the NBA segments itself into two types of teams in the upcoming years - small-ball teams with sharpshooters, and power teams that emphasize conditioning and an unrelenting defense.

The Spurs adjusted to the Warriors. Now, the Warriors are going to have to adjust to the Spurs. Curry and Thompson are going to have to drive if they're going to be covered that closely - at the end of the 3rd quarter, Steve Kerr was advising them to step *back* from the pressure, but it didn't work. Both of them are good enough to drive, and kick it out if necessary, and I think that's what we're going to be seeing on Apr 7th.

You know where I'll be that day: plastered in front of the TV. I hope both teams go undefeated at home this season - that would be *incredible* to witness.

LeBron James awaits the winner of the Western Finals. Cleveland is going to need to really get their act together if they're going to have a prayer. Shoot, they're going to need to get their act together if they're going to beat Miami.

And San Antonio is going to most likely face Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semis, although they're now only 3 games behind Golden State, with 2 games left head-to-head - it's unlikely, but still possible, that San Antonio could have the better record at season-end, and given that nobody wants to face Durant, that's a *huge* seeding advantage.

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